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OPEN staff say farewell to historic building a week on from charity’s collapse

PUBLISHED: 11:13 23 April 2020 | UPDATED: 15:09 23 April 2020

OPEN Youth Trust chief executive Laura Rycroft. Picture: Jordan Hudson/OPEN Norwich

OPEN Youth Trust chief executive Laura Rycroft. Picture: Jordan Hudson/OPEN Norwich

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Departing staff of a charity which went into liquidation a week ago have been clearing their belongings from the famous city building it has been forced to vacate.

Laura Rycroft, chief executive of OPEN Norwich Photo: OPEN NorwichLaura Rycroft, chief executive of OPEN Norwich Photo: OPEN Norwich

Last week, OPEN Norwich announced it would be entering liquidation, with the Covid-19 outbreak proving to be the final straw for the charity, which has spent 15 years supporting thousands of young people 
across the county.

The collapse has left more than 80 staff members without jobs, and yesterday they entered the building on Bank Plain for the last time as employees, collecting any property that had been left inside when the liquidators took over.

Laura Rycroft, chief executive of OPEN Norwich, said it was “a very sad moment” but hoped that the charity’s good work in the past would not be forgotten.

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She said: “Lots of people have been in touch wanting to find a way to save it but I sadly think it’s past that – I just hope there is some way that the building can be put to a similar community use in the future because there is such a big need for something like it.

“Everybody is still so sad about what has happened and it will really be missed – people were really desperate to try and save it so it is nice to see how much what we did was clearly valued.”

Any equipment owned by the charity, including sound and lighting equipment for the events, will be taken on by the liquidator, while the building itself will remain under the ownership of the Lind Trust.

Mrs Rycroft added: “Our youth team are continuing to signpost the young people we work with to alternatives, however that can only continue until the end of the month.

“All we can really do now is say how sad we are and how sorry we are about what has happened. We now really want to celebrate what we have done in the past and what we meant to people.

“I really hope in the future the building can be put to good use 
for something similar as it lent itself so well to what we were doing.”


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